If you have diabetes, taking care of your feet can help prevent complications, such as nonhealing wounds. The board-certified podiatrists at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists, with offices in Elgin, Schaumburg, Huntley, and the Montclare neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, have specialized training in diabetic feet to protect your health and comfort. To learn more, call the location nearest you or schedule an appointment online today.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes glucose (sugar) to build in the blood. The hormone insulin, which the pancreas produces, helps transport glucose to your cells. This process allows your cells to use glucose for energy.
If your pancreas doesn’t create insulin — or your body doesn’t use it efficiently — glucose accumulates in your blood. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessel walls, impeding healthy blood flow.
Diabetes also increases your risk of peripheral artery disease, which causes narrow blood vessels. Without consistent blood flow to the feet, the body can’t heal as it should. As a result, even the smallest sores, cuts, blisters, or corns and calluses can turn into nonhealing wounds.
Circulation problems are common in individuals with diabetes. The only way to protect diabetic feet is to practice proper foot care.
Having diabetes raises your risk of several foot complications, including:
Peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord, is a common diabetes complication. It can interfere with nerve signals to the feet.
Symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in your feet. Some individuals experience chronic pain, while others lose feeling in their feet.
Loss of feeling in your feet raises your risk of injury. If you don’t realize you have a small cut or blister, you might not treat it quickly enough to avoid infection.
Poor blood circulation impacts the body’s natural healing process. Slow healing may cause even small wounds to fester and grow. Without proper healing, a wound can lead to necrotic (dead) tissue and infect the tissue around it.
In severe cases, a nonhealing wound can result in amputation.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the surrounding skin. Ingrown toenails are tender and painful. They also raise your risk of infection. For individuals with diabetes, ingrown toenails are potential health risks.
Maintaining your foot health is essential if you have diabetes. Your podiatrist can provide prompt treatment if you have slow-healing wounds or foot pain.
They may recommend custom-made orthotics to cushion and support your feet. They may also remove dead tissue from the wound to promote healing. This treatment is called debridement.
Other simple techniques to care for diabetic feet at home include:
To learn more about diabetic feet, call Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.